<<< back to films

Zam Zam performs the ancient Moose woaarba dance

Performing the woaarba dance

Filmed over a span of two decades, ZAM ZAM presents an intimate portrait of an African dancer-farmer-healer, living in harmony with his family and community,
rooted in the ancient traditions of the Moose [pronounced “mo-say”] Empire, with an unbroken history dating back more than eight hundred years.
Filmed in the Sahelian region of West Africa, in Burkina Faso.
In Moore [pronounced “mo-ray”], language of the Moose people of Burkina Faso. Subtitled in English.

16mm. color. 120 minutes.
Seeking completion funding.
DVD release Coming Soon!

Director, Camera, Editor: Taale Laafi Rosellini
Co-Director, Sound: Cyprien Balma
Sound: Kathleen Ann Johnson
Associate Producer: Pierre Yamleowo Balma

We’ve made a 2.5 hour 16mm film fine-cut version of the film ZAM ZAM. We are seeking funds to transfer the original 16mm film to digital format for edit on a MacPro using Final Cut Pro, with release on DVD.

Please view the 6 minute demo of ZAM ZAM and read the project description below. Then please help us complete the edit of the film and bring this wonderful film to the world public by making a generous contribution!

We welcome your contributions! We urgently need funds to complete post-production and release of the film ZAM ZAM.

To complete the edit, and begin exhibition and distribution of ZAM ZAM, we are seeking a minimum of $20,000. Our maximum goal is $68,000. That will enable us to transfer all of the Kouritenga 16mm film footage to digital format and continue distribution to the world public.

The major costs are “digitizing” and exhibition/distribution costs. Digitizing means transferring the original 16mm film footage and sound tracks to digital format, so we can edit ZAM ZAM on a MacPro using Final Cut Pro, with release on DVD, subtitled in English.

Over a period of 20 years, the filmmaker, Taale Laafi Rosellini, became fluent in Moore, Zam Zam’s native language [and the most widely spoken language in Burkina Faso], and developed a relationship of mutual respect and trust with the artist and the people of the greater Koupela and Kouritenga regions of Burkina Faso—thereby enabling Zam Zam and his community to be comfortable and natural in front of the camera.

The filmmaker’s best friend, Cyprien Balma, born and raised near Zam Zam’s village, worked on the project as Sound Recordist and Co-Director until his tragic death. Pierre Yamleowo Balma, Cyprien’s brother, later joined the project as Associate Producer and Co-Editor. Gerard Kedrebeogo transcribed and translated a major part of the sound tracks and filmed interviews, from Moore into French and English. Taale and Pierre have completed the transcription and translation of the filmed interviews. They’ve made a 2.5 hour rough assembly edit of the 16mm film work-print, cut on a clunky 1979 Moviola flatbed (film editing machine).

Art with a purpose: ZAM ZAM and our other film projects aim to provide the public with engaging, enlightening and uplifting portraits of Africans and their cultures. We are dedicated to raising people’s consciousness and appreciation of African culture worldwide.

And we give back to Africa: Through African Family Film Foundation (our all-volunteer nonprofit), we support drought, flood, famine and tropical disease relief to families in crisis. Our African Family Children’s Fund supports on-going grass-roots projects and primary schools in Africa that teach children ecologically sound skills: sustainable organic farming, reforestation and solar energy production.

Style: ZAM ZAM was filmed primarily in medium and close-up shots, as well as proximate group shots in super wide angle, offering the viewer an intimate experience, approaching the feeling of “being there”.

Vision: ZAM ZAM is to be a bridge for the continuation and integration of central aspects of African cultural heritage—music, dance and healing—as contemporary and transformational aspects of world culture, and a means for any and all Earth citizens to take an active role in the appreciation of cultural identity, based upon heritage and considerate of a future which holds unity, love and respect in harmony with community and environment.

The Film: One of the most renowned dancers in West Africa, Zam Zam performs live the ancient Moose woaarba dance at landmark events and traditional harvest and funeral celebrations.

At home Zam Zam teaches his children farming, dance and the art of traditional healing. Family, dancers and youth speak to the viewer of the simply amazing Zam Zam, intertwined with riveting performances of renowned elder singers—Raogo Ramre [aka Gelongo] of Toulougou village and Etienne Karenga [aka Monle Nonga Riibo] of Kouritenga village—and great dancers of the ancient Moose Empire, with an eight hundred year history dating back to the twelfth century.

The film’s engaging characters transmit the wisdom of African culture, thereby keeping the message alive so that future generations may become aware of their “roots” and the art and history of African people. In essence, the transmission is not only across generations, but cross-cultural as well.

Zam Zam comments about changing times, “Duniya taara kende” [“The world is in flux, Life is on the go”] and transmits wisdom to his children. Throughout the film, adults and children manifest dignity, shared love and a strong sense of identity.

ZAM ZAM is an upbeat yet real look at an African artist and his community, and how dance and healing art are passed from generation to generation, passing from African to African, from African to all humanity.

At the heart of the film is Zam Zam’s knowledge of dance and medicine and their link to the land. The appropriate occasion for dancing the woaarba and the proper use of tiim [traditional medicine] achieve a world in balance and a life well spent. Zam Zam speaks of his métier, his calling, and what righteous living means to past, present and future generations: “Life is a voyage. That which you do, your children will also do. This is the way children should grow up…You must act and safeguard the milieu which is your heritage…The world is watching us…I’m only looking for harmony and peace.”

Please help Taale and Pierre complete ZAM ZAM by reaching the minimum goal of $20,000. If we reach our maximum goal, we would be able to work full time on the project, enter the film in film festivals across the planet and distribute ZAM ZAM to universities, colleges, public libraries and the general public worldwide.

The film ZAM ZAM will generate good will and understanding among the people across the planet. It will also contribute to the children’s educational programs—organic farming, reforestation & solar energy production—and emergency relief to African families in crisis through the African Family Film Foundation and African Family Children’s Fund. Thus we come full circle by giving back to Africa!

<<< back to films